Teva, ditching a penchant for Israeli execs, taps out-of-towner as lead CEO pick: report

Teva
Interim Teva chairman Sol Barer has promised investors repeatedly that Teva was scouring the entire globe for its next CEO.

Teva’s getting close to snagging a new CEO, and this time, it’s not an Israeli citizen. Problem is, that fact could limit its CFO options.

The company is in final-stage negotiations with its chief exec pick, and both the company’s Israeli and American directors are on board with appointing a foreigner, local newspaper Calcalist reports. It’s a shift for the generics giant, which has in the past been intent on maintaining Israeli leadership—and requiring its skipper to live in the country.

Related: Teva, still searching for 'world-class' CEO, officially puts women's health, cancer on the block

Interim chairman and Celgene vet Sol Barer, though, has made clear to investors that Teva intended to go global with exec hunt. On the company’s Q1 call last week, he told them the company was looking for a “world-class individual” to lead the drugmaker, and that Teva would “do what it takes” to sign that individual on—even if it meant waiving the live-in-Israel requirement.

While Teva’s Israeli directors may be keen on a foreign helmsman, though, they don’t want both the CEO and CFO positions going to out-of-towners, Calcalist notes. They’ve demanded that one or the other come from the company’s home country, which could impact the eventual CFO selection. Right now, Teva has three candidates vying for the position, the newspaper wrote.

Teva has for years taken plenty of heat from both analysts and investors over its preference for locals, which critics say limits the talent and experience the company can bring in. Its current problems with sales, debt and M&A—all compounded under Israeli CEO Erez Vigodman and CFO Eyal Desheh, who announced their departures in February and April, respectively—may have finally spurred some of its directors to shift their stances on the matter.

Related: Should Teva join the split-up club? With CEO gone and options open, analysts press for answers

Teva wants “someone with deep and broad pharmaceutical experience that can lead Teva and take this to the next level as a company,” Barer said on the company’s Q4 call, adding that “I am personally involved, I am personally leading this, and I am committed to bringing the absolute best person from anywhere.”

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